Parirenyatwa’s ICU paralysed

THE intensive care Unit (ICU) at Zimbabwe’s largest referral hospital, Parirenyatwa, has been shut down amid reports the authorities have failed to repair broken down equipment including 15 ventilation systems which broke down last month, as standards at the institution continue to nosedive.

Elias Mambo

Sources at the hospital told the Zimbabwe Independent the emergency resuscitation equipment and other vital machinery had broken down and consequently life-saving surgical operations, which require patients to be admitted in the ICU after a procedure, had been stopped.

The hospital’s theatre is only attending to patients who require admission in the general wards after undergoing operations.

“Patients who require life-saving surgical operations are being referred to Harare Central Hospital because the ICU has not been operational for some time,” said a source at the institution.

The source also said the hospital authorities have failed to raise money to repair the ventilation system which broke down early last month.

Last month, Parirenyatwa’s chief executive officer Thomas Zigora told the parliamentary portfolio committee on health that water was a major problem at the institution, saying the hospital regularly went without drinking water for days necessitating a standby 600 000-litre reservoir.

Parirenyatwa has five boreholes, but only three have drinking water.

Last month the hospital’s infection control officer Salome Bhiri said health workers were ferrying water using buckets from borehole tanks and taps dotted around the institution to a majority of the wards whose taps are dysfunctional.

She said the hospital was no longer different from rural district hospitals, a situation compromising effective and efficient service delivery.

The water crisis has increased the workload of nurses who have to bear the dual burden of fetching water as well as attending to patients.

“We are facing serious problems because the tap water hardly reaches the patients’ wards. In some wards, only one tap is functional and you find that two wards may be sharing a single tap, and this is not healthy considering that this is one of the country’s biggest referral centres,” said Bhiri.

The decay at Parirenyatwa is microcosmic of government’s failure to provide decent social services.

Most hospitals are using obsolete medical machinery, with Harare Central Hospital’s X-rays and ultrasound scan machines, for instance, reportedly down most of the time due to persistent water shortages at the hospital.

Just over a decade ago Zimbabwe’s public health system was ranked among the best in sub-Saharan Africa, but standards have been deteriorating due to the durable economic hardships the country is facing.

Parirenyatwa public relations manager Jane Dadzi had not responded to e-mailed questions at the time of going to press although she had requested written questions.

3 thoughts on “Parirenyatwa’s ICU paralysed”

  1. Equipment Engineer says:

    The ICU at Parirenyatwa is now fully functional. It is therefore not correct to say that Hospital Authorities have failed to raise money to repair “the ventilation equipment”, as you put it. Your reporter is welcome to come and confirm this for himself.

    There is also no record of any e-mailed questions having been received from your newspaper on this subject.

  2. Chris Veremu says:

    Might the reason the ICU is paralysed be that engineers are now doing the work of PR officers and PR officers that of engineers? The equipment engineer appears to know all that happens in the PR office..I hope the PR officer can say the same about what happens in the engineer’s office. Methinks the engineer ‘doth protesteth’ too much!

    1. Equipment Engineer says:

      I did say the reporter can come and check for himself. I doubt that he will though, because a working Unit is not news. The Engineer does not know what happens in the PRs office, but he surely is the best person to know whether or not equipment is working. If it was the PR person who had responded, she would still have been accused of covering up. A case of heads we lose, tails we lose, but then again we are now used to it.

      The spirit behind the article is indeed commended, because it seeks to draw attention to the challenges facing the health sector, and for that he should be commended. Its just that the story comes out after the problem had been addressed.

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